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What is a Core Biopsy?

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  • Written By: Nat Robinson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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A core biopsy is a medical procedure performed to obtain a sample of tissue from a mass or lump. In most cases, a diagnostic imaging test will lead to the procedure. Often, abnormal masses are found using imaging tests such as mammography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), x-ray and computerized tomography (CT) scans. If it is impossible to tell whether the mass is benign or malignant, a core biopsy may be done. The biopsy entails inserting a hallow needle through the skin and into a mass for a tissue sample.

In many cases, a core biopsy will be done with the guidance of an ultrasound. The ultrasound guides the doctor to the exact location of the abnormal mass. For the patient's comfort, a local anesthetic may be applied to the area where the needle will be inserted. Several tissue samples may be obtained for testing. Generally, a needle is re-inserted for each sample obtained.

During a core biopsy some people may feel a small amount of pressure. To prepare for the procedure, there are generally no certain requirements. Most people will be asked to wear comfortable clothes. This will generally mean wearing garments that are loose and easily removable. Following the biopsy, normal activities can usually be resumed.

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There are typically no great complications from undergoing a core biopsy. Sometimes, the area that was biopsied may be tender or sore for a short time following the procedure. Some people may experience mild pain as well. Many doctors will advise patients to take an over-the-counter pain reliever if pain occurs. Additionally, it is not uncommon for the biopsied area to have some minor bruising.

Prior to having a core biopsy and following one, most people will be given instructions on what to look for in regards to adverse reactions. Although, serious complications are rare, they do have the potential to occur. A fever in a person who has just undergone a biopsy may indicate an infection. In this event, the person will need to be examined by a physician to find out the cause of the fever. Excessive bleeding from the biopsy site and extreme pain and discomfort will also need to be addressed by a medical professional.

Lumps or masses in any part of the body can be analyzed by a core biopsy. Breasts are the most common parts of the body to undergo this type of procedure. The obtained tissue samples will be sent to a pathology laboratory for an analysis. Doctors will generally notify patients as soon as their results become available. Many doctors will request an in-office appointment to reveal the results of the biopsy and a follow-up appointment may be scheduled.

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